Youth Movements: Strengthening Social Resilience at Emergency Time

What happened on October 7 presented the State of Israel with a challenge it had never faced before. Nor had its long years of experience with war and terror prepared Israel for the stark horrors of that Black Shabbat.

In less than a day, more than 1,200 civilians were massacred, most of them children, young adults, senior citizens and entire families. Hundreds and thousands of people endured seemingly endless, nerve-wracking hours in shelters, all the while seized with real fear for their lives. Social media overflowed with news stories and, most disturbingly, with videos posted by the terrorists showing themselves perpetrating inconceivably cruel acts of slaughter, rape and violence. All these blood chilling scenes also played out on the screens of our teenagers.

It was immediately clear that the atrocious events called for a response far exceeding anything usual. Ever since that dark day, the youth movements have been running training and treatment programs for the counseling staff who meet evacuated movement members, as well as for young and teen members who have personally experienced loss or anxiety.

Right now, as hostages and their families are being returned to their communities, a new challenge has arisen concerning how the movements should behave upon reintegrating the children in activity among their peers and all the other movement members.